Anatomy Of An Empath: Part 3

Here we are! We made it to the third part of this series.

My hope is that you have gained insight regarding many of the physical and mental characteristics of being empathic and feel more empowered moving forward. Now we will evaluate common emotional characteristics of an empath/sensitive person.

First off, I just want to say to all the sensitive people out there that I totally understand and empathize with how challenging it can be to live with high sense perception. For instance, there you are, just minding your own business at the grocery store and suddenly out of nowhere you become overwhelmed by the feelings of the angry mom struggling to corral her kids in the cereal aisle…

Like a flash you feel all of her frustration, and before you even have time to drop the box of Cheerios and run, her emotions burn through your system as if they are your own. You gasp, turn on your heel, and run out into the parking lot where you’re left dealing with the exchange for the next several hours (or days).

Sound familiar? (Don’t even get me started on the energy in shopping malls, airports, and hospitals! Those places used to take me out big time.) It can be overwhelming—and a royal pain in the butt trying to go into public without having to decontaminate yourself or complete endless grounding rituals that seem to only have a moderate effect.

SO. NOT. FUN. Been there. Done that.

So are we doomed? If we feel things deeply are we destined to a life of misery? Is there any way that we can break free of the vicious cycle of energetic contraband? I’m delighted to say that NO we are not doomed to a life of agony.

There are many simple techniques you can learn to overcome the static cling-on effect and quit being a sponge to everyone else’s baggage. *Insert Rocky theme song here!*


Emotional Characteristics of Empaths

Let’s get to some of the common emotional characteristics that I’ve noticed in empaths and sensitive people:

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times: we are the healers, the caregivers, the nurturers. We have compassion and empathy, and are able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. We want people to feel good, to thrive, to end suffering, and of course…we want world peace.

Sounds reasonable, eh? But that’s only half of it. In the first two parts of this series we saw how energetic health is in direct correlation with physical health, and that there is a fine line between a psychic and a psychotic.

The emotional body is where it can get super tricky with empaths…Why?

Because while their ability to empathize deeply can be an asset, I’ve also seen it used as the opposite.

Huh? Put simply, I’ve noticed a tendency for some empaths to use their deep emotion as a way to sidestep accountability, gain identity, engage in martyrdom, and play victim/disband personal power.

Before I proceed, I give a full disclaimer that I myself spent years completely self-absorbed and awash in deep emotion. I didn’t feel like I was trying to be that way. In fact, I claimed that I wanted it to be different. But when I finally dug down and got really, really, real with myself, I saw that I kept myself in emotional angst because it gave me a sense of purpose. I was getting a payoff from the drama. I fed on people’s attention and support. I kept myself engaged in the agony of “this is so difficult” because it fed me. At some level, I enjoyed it.

The processing gave me something to do, and after even more digging, I discovered that it was a way for me to distract myself from having to step up and really become accountable for my life.

(Deep breath, I know that can sting a little…)

The good news is that after I had those realizations, I changed. I stopped identifying with “saving the world” or making everything be about me. Simultaneously, I dealt with my addiction to processing and when I did that, I found a separation between other people’s emotions and my own.

The longer I’ve practiced, the more adept I’ve become at feeling what’s mine and what isn’t. Now when the frustration of the angry soccer mom hits me in the grocery store I think, “Oh, look at that,” deflect it, and move on.

No processing. No grounding. No transmuting for the greater good.

In a nutshell, I found my power and got my life back.

Do all empaths engage in self-defeating behaviors?

Nope! Not by a long shot. I’ve met many self-connected individuals who are quite balanced between their shadow/subconscious work and conscious lives. They’ve done the inquiry to uncover their inner workings and make powerful choices from a place of balance (much of the time).

Please hear me when I say that it is possible to feel deeply and not be leveled by it…but it comes with personal accountability and practice.

Next time you are subsumed in a deep emotional process you might ask yourself:

  • Is this my emotion or someone else’s?
  • Have I felt this emotion before? How many times?
  • Have I processed this before? How many times?

If you decide that the energy is not yours, and/or that you’ve processed it before, you can make the choice to engage it or not. If you choose to engage, maybe ask yourself why you want to process.

  • What are you getting out of it?
  • Do you feel of service?
  • Is it distracting you?
  • Are you paying attention to other’s energy instead of your own?

This is where the rubber meets the road, guys. It’s not easy to face these parts of ourselves but when we do, we can find balance, ease, and liberation.

Life as an empath comes with all sides—deep, glistening beauty of blissful love, and the agony of hate, greed, lust, and war.

It all just is. And it likely won’t change. What can change, however, is how you view it. Showing up powerfully in your life, power, and love are possible!

You can thrive beyond the chaos of emotional turmoil. You are the conscious creator—go forth, play, and live your inner-awesome.

May your life be rich with meaningful connections, emotional balance, and clarity!

Shine on, you crazy diamond! And thank you for being the deep feeler that you are.